The 34-year-old retired from Test cricket last year and has not featured in a one-day…
Tennis means so much to so many people. For, Parul Gupta and her parents, it means the world.
Despite the lack of support, especially from the government, the 19-year-old Parul has been pursuing the game with interest and has been rewarded for her perseverance in recent times with international medals.
The girl from Patiala, in partnership with Jafreen Shaik, won the women’s doubles gold in the Slovenia Deaf Open tennis championship in Portoroz recently.
For once, Parul had the support from the Punjab National Bank. It helped Parul and her father Avinash Gupta, who accompanied her to Slovenia, to take care of the cost.
“In three years, Parul has won three international medals. We are grateful to Punjab National Bank”, said Avinash, when contacted in Patiala.
Parul had won her earlier medals in Germany and Chinese Taipei, without any sponsorship support.
“The medal in Taipei was in the Asia-Pacific Deaf Games. We are still waiting for the response from the Sports Authority of India (SAI) after presenting all the bills”, recalled Avinash, even as he mentioned that Jafreen Shaik got five lakh rupees awarded from the State government for the medal that she had won with Parul.
The parents — Avinash a biochemist and mother Madhu Gupta a school teacher, have been investing all their earnings on their only daughter. They have sent her for coaching at the Harvest Academy in Jassowal and later to coach Gurvarinder Sahota in Mohali.
At some stage they realised that it was best to keep her at home and help her practice at will at the local facility in Patiala which has four clay courts that have floodlights. When it rains, Parul gets to play on the synthetic courts of Yadvindra Public School where her mom teaches.
“One salary goes towards taking care of Parul’s tennis which includes the expenses towards a dedicated physical trainer. Whenever, she has to travel for tournaments abroad we try to take money from our provident fund”, said Avinash.
The family did migrate to Canada a few years ago, thinking that it would help Parul play better tennis, but retreated back home to India as things did not work out in their favour.
Things are a lot better now. Parul who is pursuing her graduation has been taken on a contract by the Punjab National Bank. There are attempts to give her a job soon to encourage her further and help her focus on tennis.
Parul plays few tournaments in the international arena. She will prepare for the Deaflympics scheduled to be held in Turkey in July 2017. There is also likely to be a pre-event in Turkey in February next year, which may help towards better preparation for the main event.
It will be her second entry in the mega event for Parul, after the maiden appearance in the Deaflympics in Sofia in 2013.
“She is very sharp. Her lip reading is nearly perfect’’, says the proud father.
Parul Gupta enjoys spending time in the bank and interacting with the staff. It gives her a nice change, from the physical training in the morning and the tennis drills in the evening, apart from improving her confidence and intelligence.
Life has taught tough lessons, including the value of money, and has helped in the personality development of Parul Gupta.